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The modern architecture of postwar Montgomery County


symbolizes the Countys hopes and dreams for new
beginnings and a bright future.
Following World War II, Montgomery County went through a
time of tremendous change. Our population exploded from
about 90,000 (1946) to some 580,000 (1974). Change
came in the pace of life, as cars and new highways enabled
ever increasing speeds, and in the scale of life, as space
travel made the universe seem to be the limit.
Great change was reflected in a new architecture. The
modern movement intentionally avoided the traditional
design of revival stylesGeorgian, Federal, Greekthat
had been popular since the nations early settlement. Rather
than harkening to the past, modern design looked toward
the future.
Modernist architects designed houses that reflected a new
era. Two main schools of modern design thinking emerged.
One, which became known as International Style, favored a
rational, geometric design inspired by man-made material.
Influential proponents of the International Style were Walter
Gropius and Marcel Breuer of the Bauhaus; Ludwig Mies
van der Rohewho turned the I-beam into an elegant
design statement; and Le Corbusier, whose elevating pilotis
became a symbol of the times. The other key force was the
Organic Modernism of Frank Lloyd Wright, whose designs
drew inspiration from nature and the innate character of the
Presented by Montgomery County Planning Department
Historic Preservation office
in partnership with AIA Potomac Valley
and
DOCOMOMO
-
DC
Special thanks to our sponsors:

North Chevy Chase Christian Church
Grateful appreciation to all our hosts for making this event
possible.
Montgomery Modern is an initiative of the Montgomery
County Planning Department Historic Preservation office
Docomomo is a non-profit organization dedicated to the
documentation and conservation of modern movement
resources.


Maryland-National Capital
Park and Planning Commission
Hammond Hill, Architectual Forum, June 1950
INTRODUCTION
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site. Organic Modernism, which includes works of Alvar
Aalto, Eero Saarinen, and Pietro Belluschi, incorporates
native materials of stone and wood, as well as references
to traditional or regional
construction elements.
In Montgomery County,
proponents of modern
design catered to
conservative tastes by
tailoring modern design
for a middle class market
in suburban subdivisions.
Early local practitioners
were Berla and Abel,
best known for apartment
buildings, and Charles M.
Goodman, known for his
custom houses and residential subdivisions. Clients most
receptive to modern design tended to be well-educated,
and often had an artistic bent.
Starting in 1948 with Hollin Hills, architect Charles M.
Goodman designed modest modern houses set into
a natural landscape. Modern design comes from an
exposed skeleton frame hung with panels of glass and
wood. The rectilinear design was softened by the natural
setting, made accessible
by patios and walkways.
The Washington
metropolitan area was
a formative arena in the
promotion of builder-
architect collaboration
in tract housing.
Award-winning
architects added
popular appeal to tract
housing. Buyers who might not be able to afford custom
designed houses could still enjoy a sense of prestige
in owning a house designed by a respected architect.
Goodman worked with Robert Davenport for Hollin Hills
in Virginia and Hollinridge in Montgomery County. For
Hammond Wood and Hammond Hill, included on this
tour, he collaborated with builders Paul Burman and his
cousin Paul Hammond.
Community buildings were essential to suburban
development, especially for newcomers who were putting
down fresh roots. For residents of new suburbs, the church
became essential to community life. By the early 1950s,
the County was engaged in a great boom in church
building. Partners William Frederick Vosbeck, Jr. and
George Truman Ward, known for their church design,
recall having little family life, as they were attending a
church committee meeting nearly every day of the week.
John S. Samperton was a
leading designer of modernist
community buildings,
specializing in churches and
recreation buildings. In addition
to buildings on this tour, he
designed Roland Parks First
Christian Church (1967) and
Washington Grove United
Methodist Church (1955-58) as
well as numerous clubhouses
and poolhouses. In his later
work, Samperton is known for his buildings at Gallaudet
and Catholic Universities.
Underappreciated and threatened with redevelopment,
mid-century buildings are fragile resources as they are
being demolished or renovated beyond recognition.
Too often, buildings from this era have been considered
outdated and obsolete, rather than recognized for their
historic significance and architectural distinction. As
awareness of mid-century modernism grows, it is our hope
that more owners and residents will appreciate the value
of these resources to understanding our past. This bike
tour includes examples that have been maintained and
adapted to meet todays needs.
Charles M. Goodman (1906-1992)
Robert M. Lautman photographer,
in Moderism, Vol 1 (Winter 1998)
Hammond Wood, in Progressive Achitecture,
May 1952
John S. Samperton in 2008.
Peerless Rockville photo
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Newport Mill Middle School
11311 Newport Mill Road (1957-1958)
Justement, Elam & Darby, architects
Architects rendering, Washington Post, May 18, 1957
Newport Junior High School (now Middle School) won
a design award from the Washington Board of Trade.
The firm Justement, Elam & Darby designed a campus-
type facility featuring a green panelized steel-frame
gymnasium that is a focal point for the main entrance, as
well as functioning as a sound buffer from local traffic.
Window walls bring natural light to the interior. In back,
the low classroom wings were angled to maximize light
and views to the surrounding landscape. Retaining many
of its original features, the school has a high level of
architectural integrity for a public school building.
2 Hammond Hill
Pendleton Drive, north of Veirs Mill Road
(1949-1950) Paul I. Burman & Paul Hammond,
developers; Charles M. Goodman Associates, architect
Architectural Forum, June 1950
Hammond Hill is
the earliest Charles
M. Goodman
community in
Montgomery County,
designed soon after
Goodman started
on Hollin Hills of
Virginia. The low
slung slab-on-grade
structures have fir
siding, accented by
pylon chimneys and
accent walls of brick
salvaged from the
recently demolished
Baltimore Brewery.
Hammond Hill
houses first went on the market in March 1950 for
$10,750and all 20 houses sold within one week.
Hammond Hill received a 1951 design excellence award
by Washington Board of Trade, in a contest juried by Louis
Skidmore, John Wellborn Root, and Pietro Belluschi, when
he was Dean of MITs School of Architecture and Planning.
3306 Pendleton Drive (1950), Top: street view; Bottom:
rear addition. Michael Cook, architect. Photos: Michael
Cook
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Participants will meet in front of Newport Mill Middle
School. Lunch will be served at the North Chevy
Chase Christian Church.
TOUR
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Newport Mill Middle School
11311 Newport Mill Road
Hammond Hill
3306 Pendleton Drive
Hammond Wood
3412 Highview Court
11528 Highview Avenue
Pass through Rock Creek Woods en route to Rock
Creek Park trail
North Chevy Chase Christian Church
8814 Kensington Parkway
North Chevy Chase Pool Bathhouse
8827 Brierly Road
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Janet Bloomberg of Kube Architecture opened up the
interior by removing interior walls and updated it with color
blocked cabinets and refinished walls. The house was
featured in Dwell magazine September 2013.
Hammond Wood
included two-level
houses with the living
rooms and some
bedrooms on the
upper story. Some
models were sold
with an unfinished
basement, affording
the homeowner
significant cost
savings and future
expandability.
Plumbing was
roughed in for a
future bath and space provided for an additional bedroom,
recreation room and laundry/utility room in the ground
story.
After Hammond Hill quickly sold out, Burman and
Hammond lost no time expanding their development by
acquiring 15 acres of heavily wooded, rolling land to the
south. The site plan called for cul-de-sacs which Goodman
knew appealed to young families.
Buildings were skewed on their sites to maximize views of
nature and minimize views of neighboring houses, and
banked into hillsides to preserve the natural landscape.
This approach of fitting modern design into a natural
setting has been dubbed Situated Modernism. Landscape
architect Lou Bernard Voight was available for hire to
purchasers who wanted custom landscape plans. His
plans included native rhododendrons and arborvitae. The
one-story houses in Hammond Wood were not big, and,
according to a construction supervisor, when a potential
buyer asked Mr. Goodman, Where does somebody
put a baby grand in this house, Mr. Goodman simply
replied: People with baby grands dont buy this house.
Goodman would always be considered a brilliant but
uncompromising designer.
3 Hammond Wood
Pendleton Drive and Highview Avenue Vicinity (1949-
1951) Paul I Burman & Paul Hammond, developers;
Charles M. Goodman Associates, architect
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places
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3412 Highview Court (1951)
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11528 Highview Court (1951)
Hammond Wood House, in Progressive
Architecture, May 1952
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North Chevy Chase Christian Church uses natural materials
including cedar shake roof shingles and native Stoneyhurst
stone. The interior features flagstone entry and teakwood
pews. A movable mosaic, The Garden of Gethsemane,
can be raised to reveal a hidden baptistery. Founded in
1916, the congregation moved to this site from its original
location on Park Road, Columbia Heights. Architect John
S. Samperton designed this church complex to be built
in stages. The sanctuary was built first dedicated in
1959followed by the education wing and offices, about a
decade later. The A-frame was a popular building form for
Christian churches in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The
triangular form bears reference to the Trinity, and steep roof
reaches toward the heavens. One of the earliest A-Frame
church in the region was Pietro Belluschis acclaimed
Church of the Redeemer (1954),
in Baltimore. A successful
architect, Samperton expanded
his Bethesda business in
1961 by opening a second
office in Washington, DC. He
designed First Christian Church,
Roland Park, and later formed
the partnership Chatelain,
Samperton and Nolan.
4 North Chevy Chase
Christian Church
8814 Kensington Parkway (1959)
John S. Samperton, architect
Courtesy: North Chevy Chase Christian Church
Photo: Scott Wilets July 2014
NEARBY
Rock Creek Woods, Spruell Drive vicinity (1958-1961)
Herschel & Marvin Blumberg, developers; Charles M.
Goodman Associates, architect
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places
Larger Rock Creek Woods houses resulted from the
Blumbergs desire to cater to a higher-income market and
provide larger kitchens. Houses have white wood frames
with colored panel infill. In 1959, Rock Creek Woods
received the Suburban Maryland Builders Association
award for best in siting, variety and excellence of
design, preservation of natural land features, construction
workmanship, and value to the purchaser.
Rock Creek Woods, in House & Home,
November 1959, Robert Lautman photo
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In addition to his modernist churches, John S. Samperton
was known for his recreation buildings. His bathhouse
for the North Chevy Chase Pool Association is modest in
scale, but packs a high level of attention to detail. Shaped
vergeboard give a soaring quality to a translucent roof
that brings natural light into the interior. Louvered vents
and floor level wall openings provide critical ventilation
needed for a pool bathhouse. Among Sampertons other
recreation buildings,
are clubhouses for
Manor, Indian Spring,
and Edgemoor
Country Clubs, from
1954-1957, and
the Little Falls Pool
Bathhouse (1956).
The North Chevy
Chase Pool Bathhouse
is his last known extant
recreation building.
5 North Chevy Chase
Pool Bathhouse
8827 Brierly Road (1959) John S. Samperton, architect
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
montgomeryplanning.org/historic/montgomery_modern
Thomas Jester. Twentieth-Century Building Materials.
Washington DC, National Park Service, 1995.
Elizabeth Jo Lampl. Subdivisions and Architecture Planned
and Designed by Charles M. Goodman Associates in
Montgomery County, Maryland. National Register Multiple
Property Documentation Form, M-NCPPC, 2004.
Richard Longstreth (Ed), Housing Washington, Chicago, IL.
Center for American Places, 2010
Chad Randl, A-frame, New York, NY: Princeton Architectural
Press, 2009.
Wolf Von Eckardt. Mid-Century Architecture in America:
Honor Awards of the American institute of Architects,
Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Press, 1961.
The Washington Post Archives.
MONTGOMERY
MODERN
BIKE TOUR
DOCOMOMO TOUR DAY
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2014
Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission